Everything’s up to date in Kansas City!

Ricky Hill

Guest Blogger, Reporting from the National Conference on Tobacco or Health.

Greetings from the National Conference on Tobacco or Health in Kansas City! It’s Ricky again! You may remember me from my previous post here on the Network’s blog, The Shame of Pride.


I’m here in the Show-Me-State on a blogging scholarship to tell you all about the Network’s Summit and National Conference on Tobacco or Health. After a brief battle with what I am referring to as the twenty-four hour virus of death, I am back in the swing of things and attending sessions like whoa. The highlight of my day (besides a great run-in with some AWESOME youth from Say What! Texas) was a session titled One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Tailoring Mass Media Campaigns, featuring a talk by the ever-charming Jeffrey Jordan, head of Rescue Social Change Group.

Basically, this was a rundown of what works and what doesn’t with regard to targeted youth anti-tobacco campaigns. Seeing as how the HHS is calling for youth-focused and youth-driven initiatives, this seemed like a perfect presentation to attend. Here’s the quick and dirty of what Rescue Social Change Group have found to be effective, as well as what is not so effective:

What Works

Cultural authenticity – Do these people look like youth? Are they people that youth believe to be actual non-smokers?

Source credibility – Who is giving the information? Are these just some advertisers trying to get money in some other way?

Fact relevance – Is this true for youth? Does it even matter in their lives?

Immediate consequences – Bad breath keeping youth from getting kisses is waaaaaaay more relatable than lung cancer.

Social justice appeals – Information related to animal cruelty and deforestation trigger critical thinking and connections that may not otherwise by made.

What Doesn’t Work

Over the top creativity – More money doesn’t actually mean more impact—good news for those of us on a public health budget!

Entertaining gimmicks – Flashy dance scenes may be fun, but that doesn’t mean youth know what you’re selling.

Long-term consequences – We’re talking about a generation of immediacy. Let’s talk in their terms!

Fear – I think we can all agree that scaring people doesn’t always work.

Appeals lacking culture – We all want to see ourselves. Right? Right.

I really appreciated this talk because even though it gave lots of examples of what NOT to do, it also gave as many ideas about what we CAN do. And, it was really inspiring to hear that lots of money is not the best answer. We’re all working under tight budgets, so it’s reassuring to know that effective outreach can happen as long as it’s authentic, relevant, immediate, and can be tied back to social justice.

All of those sound like things us queers can get behind, so I can’t wait to see what the Network comes up with to brag on as successes at the next NCTOH!

Published by rickyhill

queer jewish butch dandy.

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